Before our population can be vaccinated, data and digital technologies will be at the heart of our efforts to contain the virus and deliver the health and economic interventions needed to support those impacted. Today, the public discussion centres on the NHS Track and Trace app.
This has already attracted some unfortunate and challenging press coverage. Yet it is just one digital intervention among the many that will be needed. Ultimately, digital COVID-19 “pathways” will need to be rolled out, addressing multiple application areas across society.
The current narrow focus on Track and Trace means that there is a real danger of the broader benefits of a data-enabled remobilisation strategy being lost through public misunderstanding and suspicion. Public sentiment toward the use of personal data is twitchy, to say the least.
This is understandable given media coverage and the well-articulated and appropriate concerns of civil liberties groups and campaigners. The current lack of a clear overarching Covid-19 data strategy from the Government is not helping, leaving a hole that needs to be filled quickly.
Not State snooping, but the safe remobilisation of society.
At the heart of Government strategy should be a recognition of the potential power and value of trusted personal data mobility. This is relevant across Government and government agencies such as the NHS, charities, businesses and society as a whole. Not state snooping, but a robustly regulated, Government-led mobilisation of decentralised, data-led services that inform, protect and enable the safe remobilisation of society and the economy.
The core principle of personal data mobility is that it puts the individual firmly in control and enables them to access their data from multiple organisations (data partners). They can safely create value through the decentralised and consented use of their data, via a personal data management solution across multiple data-enabled services which help citizens make better-informed decisions more easily in an increasingly complex post-Covid 19 society.
By enabling personal data to flow safely, efficiently, and sustainably, this trusted personal data mobility infrastructure will support the rapid deployment and adoption of trusted data-enabled services and support confident remobilisation across the nation.
A strategic data mobility framework needs to be developed quickly if services that depend on personal data are to be rapidly deployed and accepted by citizens in sufficient numbers to succeed, and for the trusted use of personal data to be leveraged more widely in the remobilisation of the nation.
It is a proposition whose time has most definitely arrived.
We believe that personal data mobility can enable individuals to make valuable use of their personal data safely, whilea driving direct benefits to society and the economy. Ctrl-Shift has collaborated extensively with UK Government, regulators and industry to develop trusted a personal data mobility framework which is now widely recognised within Government (BEIS, DCMS, HMT) and blue-chip businesses and is also an objective stated in the EU’s data strategy. The point is, it’s not a new proposition, but it is certainly a proposition whose time has most definitely arrived.
Because data-enabled remobilisation responses to the COVID-19 crisis rely strongly on the use of personal data, this is a critical moment when trusted personal data mobility can be used to accelerate and de-risk their speed and impact.
A data mobility framework will unlock the value in personal data by putting the citizen at the heart of the data eco-system. This framework combines governance models and personal data management processes and technologies to enable solutions that embody the privacy, transparency and security needed to gain citizens’ trust and engagement.
If the public decides not to adopt digital solutions, critical work will fail.
Digital solutions are contingent on the processing of personal data. If the public decides not to adopt those solutions due to privacy concerns, or if accessing the range of data required is complicated , this critical work will not be successful.
Today, these solutions are seen as addressing siloed problems, demanding point solutions. Building dozens of siloed services and asking our citizens to gather their data for each individually, while offering uncertain guarantees about privacy, is a recipe for failure in or opinion.
Ctrl-Shift has set out an initial approach that could support the development of personal data mobilisation strategies for any national government looking to mobilise data effectively in the fight against the Coronavirus. We are delighted to share an introduction to this with Data IQ Community.
It is our belief that, if adopted, the UK has an opportunity to lead the world in the effective use of trusted personal data, both as a counter to the restraints this pandemic has placed on societies globally and in unlocking entirely new forms of value for people, societies and economies. But, most urgently, we will have a far better chance of successfully and safely remobilising the UK economy and helping our nation back towards a greater degree of normality.
Liz Brandt is CEO of Ctrl-Shift, a business innovation consultancy specialising in the strategic value of trusted personal data